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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys!

Hoping for some recommendations on replacing the rod and main/crank bearings.

I was driving home from work the other day and my low oil pressure light came on, pulled over and checked oil level, looked fine. (250 miles after I finished my top end rebuild after timing belt snapped) I was 3 minutes from home so I limped it back and got it up on jacks and dropped the oil pan, oil pickup was completely clogged with plastic (likely from timing chain tensioner that failed 40k miles ago and was replaced at a shop) and a bunch of what looks to be bearing material, there was a mountain of debris right under the pickup. At idle on startup it sounded fine, but after it reved down I could hear what I would guess to be rod knock or at least I think it sounded like it. Ultimately don't wanna risk anything and just want to replace the bearings.. which leads me to my question. What is the best way to replace them? I'm working in my garage and I have 2-3ft of clearance max in front of the car. Would it be recommended to pull the engine and transmission out the front?, drop subframe to drop the upper pan?, or something else. I've never done the bottom end before, so I have no idea what to expect. Also have never taken an engine apart prior to October 2021. I have jack stands and a 3 ton floor jack. I can buy an engine hoist/puller if absolutely needed.

Anything I should look for in terms of the journals/bearings? I did manage to take one rod bearing out and it looked okay-ish, was mostly smooth with one minor groove, but yet again I have no idea what to expect. Please let me know if you'd like any more photos!

Also looking at Glyco bearings from FCP, any experience with that brand? 1 2 3

Thank you for whatever you guys can recommend!

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Those Glyco bearings are the exact same ones I used on my 2003 GLX V6 rebuild 5 years ago. Heavily documented here on the forum.
I'd use them again in a heartbeat.
Wife's car is still going strong today.

I'm gonna say it, if the rod bearings are compromised, assume the main bearings are also. Me personally, if I'm changing rods bearing, I'm also changing main bearings. No question.

As far as getting the work done, again me personally, I would pull the engine and transmission out of the car as one whole assembly.
I’ve done this procedure about 20 times. At the height of my Passat wrenching (5 years ago) I didn’t have a lift in my garage.
Working on a car that’s only got about 20 inches of clearance is beyond cumbersome, for me anyways.
After doing a number of engine/trans pulls I’ve gotten quite good at it. I’ve learned a few things that make the process quite doable as a one man operation without breaking your back or your knuckles.
The other huge advantage of pulling the whole shebang out is getting to all those parts that you couldn’t otherwise without losing your sanity, especially with the V6.

You’ve gotta completely split apart the transmission from the engine anyways to get full access to the crankshaft.
Worse yet, if you’ve got an automatic transmission, that thing is a big heavy pig. Not very maneuverable with only 20 inches of clearance, not in the least.
Whole lot easier doing all this work on a bench.

Taking apart the V6 is a bit of a challenge for a first timer. Don’t let it scare you into submission though. If you’ve got mechanical aptitude and are a-keen to certain details it can be done with no problems.

Something to consider, connecting rod bolts are a one time use. So as soon as you crack those things loose, new ones are in order.

Hit me up with any questions, I’d be glad to help out.
 

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Glyco is an OE supplier of bearings to Volkswagen along with Kolbenschmidt and Mahle.
I've used aftermarket Glyco and Kolbenschmidt before. Wouldn't hesitate to use any of those brands again for Engine bearings.
 

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I doubt the bearings are bad, you likely saw the metal shavings of the CCT once the chain went through the plastic. I had a similar issue with a 1.8T I worked on. I put in a new oil pump and pickup, along with a used turbo and it's still running fine 8 yrs after I repaired it.
If you had any damage, it's the cams that get it. Were they scored when you had it apart?
 

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I agree; bad bearings would be very unlikely unless it was run without oil pressure for an extended time, or some really inappropriate lubricant was used. Running without pressure briefly won't harm an engine that is all wet inside with oil, though. My routine when changing the oil is to drain until very little is dripping out, then start the engine and rev to 3,000 ~ 4,000 for a few seconds to clear old oil from the pump and crank. Several ounces usually drains out afterwards. A strange habit but the new oil looks clear and un-tinted by the residual old oil.
 

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How about posting up a couple pictures of those bearing shells. End the speculation.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I doubt the bearings are bad, you likely saw the metal shavings of the CCT once the chain went through the plastic. I had a similar issue with a 1.8T I worked on. I put in a new oil pump and pickup, along with a used turbo and it's still running fine 8 yrs after I repaired it.
If you had any damage, it's the cams that get it. Were they scored when you had it apart?
From what I could tell the cams looked great and the guy I had rebuild the heads didn't say anything, and he likes talking, so I would assume those were fine!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here's a couple photos. I can take another bearing off of the other connecting rod if needed to look at. Might be more wear than I initially saw, the lighting makes difference. As regards to the lubricant, I used Castrol Edge 5w-40 Full Synthetic and had about 1,300 miles at most on the oil as of now, could be as low as 1k, changed it back in October.
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I should also probably mention that when my CCT did fail, the chain wore right through the valve cover and was spewing oil, but I got all that fixed at 80k, all new chains and tensioners on both sides. I didn't even think that it was a possibility it could've been the CCT, I didn't work on cars at the time, so I didn't even bother looking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'll also mention my car currently has 120,xxx miles on it and since I've had it, I've always ran the same oil in it. I took apart and fully cleaned the oil pump and oil lines that go next to it, put a bunch of lithium grease in the oil pump wear surfaces, hope that's fine? If you guys think the bearing looks fine, I can put it back together after I can get some new bolts for the cap I removed and start it up and see what happens.
 

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My 1998 GLS V6 motor was WAY worse than that with just a bit over 90k miles. That motor the CCT's came apart, a bunch of the debris went down into the oil pan (like yours) and clogged up the oil pick-up screen, starved the engine of oil. The engine grenaded 3 months after I bought it.
Anyways... that's another story for another day.

My personal diagnosis, at some point time the oil had been neglected. That's evident of the heavy black crust on the surfaces (common occurrence mostly from conventional oil).
It's also evident that either the oil was used for way to long (to long between changes and getting dirty) or moisture is getting into the oil. That's what is causing the pitting on the bearings surface. Very evident in post #9.

As far as those bearings go, there not destroyed but there not great either.
I guess it depends on how you value the car. If this is a car you absolutely love and want to get another 20 years out of it, maybe it's time for a refresh.
If it's a car that just gets from point A to point B, put it back together and forget it.

FYI
Those are fracture machined connecting rods and caps. It's absolutely imperative you that get that cap back on in the direction it came off.

Edited -
If you decide just to put it back together and drive it, you can get away with re-using those rod bolts. Just don't torque them to factory specs this time around.
 

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Take this post with a grain of salt.

If it were me right at this point, I'd pull the motor and do a rebuild on it.
But...
I'm the kind of person that doesn't hem and haw over things. I see something, if I don't like it, it gets replaced, rebuilt, repaired or tossed.
Quite honestly I can be a bit extreme. Everyone in this forum that knows me can vouch for that.

Again, this is just me talking out load sort-a-speak.
 

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Damn, I gotta be at work in 3 hours :eek: I better get some shut eye.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
My 1998 GLS V6 motor was WAY worse than that with just a bit over 90k miles. That motor the CCT's came apart, a bunch of the debris went down into the oil pan (like yours) and clogged up the oil pick-up screen, starved the engine of oil. The engine grenaded 3 months after I bought it.
Anyways... that's another story for another day.

My personal diagnosis, at some point time the oil had been neglected. That's evident of the heavy black crust on the surfaces (common occurrence mostly from conventional oil).
It's also evident that either the oil was used for way to long (to long between changes and getting dirty) or moisture is getting into the oil. That's what is causing the pitting on the bearings surface. Very evident in post #9.

As far as those bearings go, there not destroyed but there not great either.
I guess it depends on how you value the car. If this is a car you absolutely love and want to get another 20 years out of it, maybe it's time for a refresh.
If it's a car that just gets from point A to point B, put it back together and forget it.

FYI
Those are fracture machined connecting rods and caps. It's absolutely imperative you that get that cap back on in the direction it came off.

Edited -
If you decide just to put it back together and drive it, you can get away with re-using those rod bolts. Just don't torque them to factory specs this time around.
I wouldn't be surprised if the oil had been neglected, I don't think it has ever had conventional as far as I know though. It used to be my dad's and he is not good with maintenance, usually waits for the car to tell him it needs service, and as an example of what he waits for is....: STOP MOTOR CHANGE OIL
He got the car at 65k in 2010ish and I started using it at 75-80k and during that time up to 95k or so I always brought it to Jiffy for full synthetic oil changes, prior to my use I have no idea what happened. Prior to purchase it was a single owner, old couple who always got it serviced at the dealer (from what I was told by the dealer) but had no service records in the manual after the 5k service, no idea if the dealer has those.

Ultimately, I plan to fully restore the car in the future and I have put way more money into it than it is worth, but given that it is winter.. if you'd think I could get another 10-15k out of it and change the bearings then, I'd way much more prefer that, but if it would cause permanent engine damage, I probably wouldn't want to take the risk.

I wouldn't mind driving this car for the rest of my life if it'll allow it, I just don't know what can cause irreversible damage, as I do want to keep everything numbers matching, original engine, transmission, etc. If I have to replace the crank, so be it, it would just suck to do. I'd probably replace the pistons too since they have minor marks from the valves hitting them. Bought a majority of the parts from FCP, so ya know free lifetime replacement is a nice thing.

I use it for everything, getting to and from work and school, as well as road tripping. Earlier this year (EDIT: last year) I took it on a month long road trip through 14 states with little issues besides breaking a cv axle. IMO it is just so much easier to work on then all the newer VWs with all those complicated computer systems. Coolant changes, spark plug charges, oil changes, all so easy, otherwise I probably would've gotten a newer one by now. I'm very partial to the interior, love it. (profile photo)

I'd love to hear what you think.

P.S. I'm a bit of a stickler to torquing, what do you think I should torque the rod bolts to given that they are used now? Worst fear is that the piston is gonna fly out and damage the block/head or something.
 

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Here's a couple photos. I can take another bearing off of the other connecting rod if needed to look at. Might be more wear than I initially saw, the lighting makes difference. As regards to the lubricant, I used Castrol Edge 5w-40 Full Synthetic and had about 1,300 miles at most on the oil as of now, could be as low as 1k, changed it back in October.
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Lighting does change the look. How does the surface feel? Can you feel the scratches with your nail? And also the crank journal? Is it smooth?
I would be interested in what the top half of the rod bearing shell looks like. That's the one that takes a beating.

If anything, you could just "slip" in new rod bearings (same size of course) if you have access to them all and the crank journals look fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Surface feels okayish, I can feel the scratches with my nail, and the crank journal only has one scratch I can feel with my nail as well, otherwise completely smooth. I'll see if I can slip out the top half of the rod bearing in a few minutes
 

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It's also evident that either the oil was used for way to long (to long between changes and getting dirty) or moisture is getting into the oil. That's what is causing the pitting on the bearings surface. Very evident in post #9.
That could be it. Water (coolant) in the oil will definitely ruin bearings. I had a Toyota truck which developed a head gasket leak, leaving the oil in milkshake condition. This emulsion was evidently acidic, because when I pulled the valve cover, the inside was glossy bright Aluminum, like it just came out of the mold. I drove it a while more, but when selling it, one guy who looked at it, and didn't buy it, held the brakes, let out the clutch slowly, and said "this thing has bad bearings".
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Here's the top half of the rod bearing, looks to be in a lot worse shape, but less scratches than the bottom. Rust color could have been from when I rebuild the top half, coolant got in when I took the heads off, I let it drain for a couple weeks before I put the oil back in. I don't recall ever having any major moisture issues as far as I know.
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Ooh yeah, that's pretty much done.
Does / did the engine knock at all? I have to imagine it made some kind of metallic knocking / clunking noise.
 
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